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Thread: Muscle Spasms- any ideas?

  1. #1

    Muscle Spasms- any ideas?


    My 92-year old mother has had come and go periods of time during which managing the pain of muscle spasms became a nearly full-time occupation. This pain is severe and she has been at the EM more than once.

    The root causes are not entirely clear and the treatment of the symptoms is, likewise, nowhere near a done deal. The diagnosis and treatments have included: dozens of doctor's visits, including orthopedic /spine and pain management specialists, MRI's- another one today-, X-Ray's, CT-scan, all level of over the counter and prescription pain killers, cortisone, other steroids, muscle relaxants, several rounds of physical therapy, and a couple of rounds of acupuncture.

    The only treatments said to be effective not yet tried are : heavy Opioids, Bo-tox injections to temporarily paralyze the affected nerves, and apparently, the most promising, CBD- cannaboids that are proven effective in cases of the muscle spasm effects of epilepsy and MS. Unfortunately, Virginia only allows medical marijuana for a particular form of persistent epilepsy.

    These flare-ups has meant not being able to commit to any social activity. No: church, going to lunch with friends, shopping, and prevents pursuing her hobbies of watercolor painting and cooking. This pain takes all her attention.

    Any thoughts on this subject will be gratefully received.

    Alan Caro

  2. #2
    Yoga, meditation, deep tissue massage, exercise. Drink lots of water. Avoid coffee.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Northern Florida
    The solutions can become the problem with painkillers, even NSAIDS and OTC. Stop them if you can, preferably taper off but it's not easy. Same with caffeine, which is even harder to stop. Water, as mentioned. Also reduce sodium (salt) and increase potassium (salt substitute) possibly even adding it to water or drinks. But first look carefully at diuretics and other drugs she might be using that affect potassium levels. Too little is bad but too much is worse. With all those doctor visits she should be getting frequent blood tests and you should read the reports and compare old ones especially re electrolytes. Also re kidney function. CBD does seem like a good possible solution. At 92 you can't wait too long for progress, unfortunately.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Modesto, CA, USA
    Get the Shingles vaccination which she probably already has. I wonder if tens unit would help?
    hard to say but at her age being addicted to legal prescribed drugs may not be a long term problem.
    150 years ago church ladies used to go around and get drunks off demon rum by giving them nice, legal cocaine instead of being godless drunks they saved their souls by taking a little laudnum every day.
    Bill D.

    PS: my mother is now 97 so I have some idea of how you feel. You want to help but nothing really works that well.
    Last edited by Bill Dufour; 05-20-2018 at 1:35 PM.

  5. #5
    When I was building outdoor structures and not drinking enough water I would get occasional leg, back and hand cramps that would drop me to the floor. Tried all sorts of remedies, and one day in desperation asked someone in a health food store what they'd use if they had the same.

    Liquid Valerian root extract (glycerine based, not the alcohol version) was the answer. A few droppers into a short glass of water and within a few minutes they'd be totally gone. It was fairly miraculous, to be honest, and I still keep some on hand here for the occasional middle of the night calf cramp. No side effects, not steroidal or addictive (an herbal extract), and a really low investment to try. A company called Puritan(s?) Pride carries it. If you buy there, just be careful to make sure it's not the alcohol version, since it tastes terrible compared to the other (though still an acquired taste), and it's like 20% by volume. The other one has none.

  6. #6
    For cramps use dill pickle juice ... grandson's football coach used it a lot for players with cramps......couple of swallows ......... I & my wife use and it works fast. Justin

  7. #7
    Quinine water

  8. #8
    Worst I have ever felt, without a kidney stone, was back spasms. A simple move would trigger them, and only time cured them. For ordinary cramps, drink lots of water. Your mother may not be drinking as much water as she should due to bladder control issues. During the night, when I wake up with a leg cramp, I open a packet of yellow mustard and apply it to my tongue. Usually with in a minute, I get relief. Keep packets in head board of bed.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Youngstown, Oh
    My cardiologist suggested Vitamin "D" for cramps. He says most of us have low levels and everyone should take 5000IU each day. Did wonders for me.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Hunkele View Post
    My cardiologist suggested Vitamin "D" for cramps. He says most of us have low levels and everyone should take 5000IU each day. Did wonders for me.
    My doctor also said dehydration is a common cause. And recommended vitamin D.


  11. #11
    To all,

    I sincerely appreciate the comments and suggestions being made.

    I should have mentioned the supplements, Potassium and Magnesium, plus the hydration. The Vitamin D and Valerian suggestions are welcome. Pickle jouicw is interesting and that available. I used Valerian years ago to try for more than my usual 3-4 hours of sleep per night- and it does work. Bruce Wrenn mentioned mustard on the tongue and that was tried a couple of days ago. The problem with this condition is that these episodes are so fickle in starting and stopping, it's difficult to pin down what is effective and what isn't.

    There is an appointment with a new doctor in two hours- fingers crossed.

    Thanks again everyone.


  12. #12
    I was going to suggest CBD myself, and I use it. It's not "marijuana" per se, does your state have special restrictions on it? Here's it's just another supplement, as it should be. And what would happen if you just mail ordered it?

  13. #13
    I was having terrible muscle cramps in my ribs, low back and legs, day and night, etc. Sometimes in the side, so bad I could not drive. I already drink a couple gallons of water a day and the doctor told me to drink a pint of tonic water a day. So, yep. (Not seltzer water) Tastes like crap, but the cramps have almost entirely disappeared. Generic tonic water is dirt cheap. about 49 cent a quart.

    Mrs. gets dehydrated some times and it is hard to get people to take more fluids. And she is a nurse. I try to keep juice, water, ice tea and soft drinks in the fridge for her. But getting her to drink is another thing entirely.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    I’ve used Potassium and it has helped. You need to check with her doc to make Potassium (or any other OTC med) does not conflict with her other meds.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Carlos Alvarez View Post
    I was going to suggest CBD myself, and I use it. It's not "marijuana" per se, does your state have special restrictions on it? Here's it's just another supplement, as it should be. And what would happen if you just mail ordered it?
    Carlos Alvarez,

    Yes, I've been looking into CBD, and it it appears to be by far the strongest contender; there's a strong agreement on the benefits for this condition. Unfortunately, Virginia's medical marij. policy is highly restrictive. D.C. has a lieral medical plus quite conditional recreational and Maryland has a medium level of restriction but medical only. However, in both D.C and Maryland, the buyer/patient must be a resident. I lived in CA for 35 years, now with a quite open recreational policy, good friends in Maryland, my aunt lives in Denver-very liberal policy, and niece in Vermont, so I'm so near and yet so far.

    It's interesting that you mention mail order as I saw an article in Wired - "new technologies that matter" that mentioned there are quite inexpensive vaping systems for CBD and they are apparently offered by mail with some sort of capsules of the liquid. However, i think edibles would be the most acceptable form to the patient. It's a pity that the extensive medicinal benefits and nearly negligible negative of CBD's are lumped together with the serious narcotics.

    Meanwhile, my mother suffers almost continually. She refuses to start down the path of prescription Opioids, Morphine, & etc.



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